We asked all the candidates the same 11 questions on a wide range of issues plus one specific to their party. Over the six weeks leading up to Election Day, October 19, we present their answers unedited and in their entirety.
This week’s questions:
7. This week we present the questions specific to the individual parties. See each candidate for question and response.
8. Outside of general party policy, is there one issue that you personally will make a high priority if you are elected?
7. A lot of people are simply scared to turn over the federal economy what they view as an untested entity; how do you respond to that fear?
I respond to that by reminding people in this riding that there was a study done a couple of years ago that showed that of the provincial governments in the history of this country, New Democrats have balanced more budgets than any other single party in our history. Tommy Douglas balanced 17 straight budgets in the province of Saskatchewan and brought in health care at the same time. Roy Romanow balanced the budget. We left the Sask Party a balanced budget, so we have a strong history in this country of balancing budgets and I believe that the plan outlined by Tom to balance the budget that people can take him at his word because that’s our history. We don’t believe you borrow money and pay a piper to do that. You balance the books so the money you spend is not borrowed from a bank that you then have to bow down to.
8. There are two and they’re rolled into the same thing. As a person with a disability I obviously have a life experience that a lot of people don’t have. Persons with disabilities are not, at this point in time, as included in the economy as should be. It’s estimated that disabled people have an unemployment rate twice what it is for the public, for the non-disabled community, so that’s an issue we have to deal with. So I’m going to make sure when we implement employment strategies on a federal level that persons with disabilities are included in this riding. Second to that, but just as important is the whole issue of income security. Tom [Mulcair, NDP leader] has said in this campaign that we will lift 200,000 seniors out of poverty by increasing the GIS He said [September 4] in Toronto that we will also look at the pension programs in this country. People who retire should not be living in poverty in this country. They should not be having to choose between eating a meal and taking a pill, so those are two critical issues that I intend to promote when I’m elected as the MP for this region.
7. The Green Party frequently gets accused of splitting the progressive vote; how do you respond to the idea that a Green vote is a vote for the Conservatives?
It’s a myth and it works for the other parties because they can mileage on it, but it’s not true. In areas where the Greens have attracted significant votes in previous, whether it’s federal or provincial elections, those votes have come from people who don’t normally vote and makes very little difference in the balance of what the other parties can glean out of that riding right from the get go. It’s hardly relevant because the votes for the Greens are attracting people that see it as the answer for a real down-to-earth, common-sense change in what’s going on in our country and if we don’t turn that around we’re in big trouble, another 10 years of Harper will kill us. It’s a myth, it makes good media spin and all that, but no, it’s not relevant.
8. I am so insulted by this culture of fear in so many areas. Bill C-51 is bordering on losing our democracy altogether. This is not a free country anymore when just because we have an opinion that doesn’t suit well with the party in power then you get a label that could throw you in jail, which is absolutely obscene. They did this in other countries 50, 60 years ago. We don’t need that here, we’re supposed to be an advanced civilization. This mocks democracy and this secret everything, secret bills, secret meetings, secret trade agreements that get signed and we don’t hear about it for three years, this is nonsense, it is absolute nonsense and it has to stop. And this ridiculous Free Elections Act, that’s another joke. It’s the least fair thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
7. Your opposition on both sides have spent a lot of time mocking your leader as being scatter-brained and not ready to govern; is Trudeau a liability to your campaign?
Absolutely not. I think Justin is an absolutely wonderful leader and I think he’s very great and what I’d like people to know is that he’s a leader and that he listens to what Canadians have to say and he also listens to what his candidates and his MPs have to say. I think that’s a very good quality. I think he’s human, and I think that’s something that’s a very respectable quality to see in your prime minister. I think it’s very important. I don’t like the attack ads, I think they’re quite unfair. Something that’s important to know is [Trudeau is] 43 years old. When Stephen Harper was elected as prime minister he was 47 years old; that’s only a few years different. I think that making him look like he is young and not ready and not prepared is very unfair and I also think you have to look at the team he has surrounding him, and like I said earlier, he has a wonderful team around him of people who are very involved in their country, that are leaders in their communities and have published many different books, that are astronauts, that are indigenous chiefs, all of these really important community members and it is a team that is going to be leading our country as well.
8. I understand a lot of people are going to be looking at my age in this election. I am still a student running to be a member of Parliament, but as far as that goes I think it’s really important that young people in our constituency and across our country get involved in politics and see it as something that is very important. In the last election only 38.8, I believe, of potential voters between the ages of 18 to 25 voted in the election and that is actually atrocious and it’s really really sad and I just hope that more young people see politics as being something very important for them and something that affects many aspects of their lives and affects what they do and the job that they have and is really really important for them. There are a handful of young MPs that are serving right now and I hope that by having a stronger youth presence in Parliament more young voters will be able to see themselves as wanting to get involved in politics and see it as being important in their lives.
7. Given the ongoing scandals of the incumbent government, do you think trust, integrity and accountability are going to be issues in the local campaign?
The accountability issue, I’d put some background to that, actually. Mr. Duffy, if he’s done some things that are wrong, he needs to be held accountable for those, all of the senators. We have a historic culture there that needs to be changed. I think that the Conservatives are getting the focus there, but I think that it goes far greater than that. I know we had a [senator] years ago who lived in Florida and never came to work and got paid. There’s a lot of issues around the Senate. It’s a very difficult one because it’s all wound up in our Constitution and it’s always been an important issue to us that we reform the Senate. It’s been a very difficult situation to try to deal with. I think this coming to light is good because it means that we have more teeth to make some serious changes and there’s been talk of abolishing the Senate, obviously to do that, as they say with the constitutional issues, it’s very very difficult. We have to make it better. The issue specifically with Nigel Wright, I personally don’t have a problem with him wanting to help Mr. Duffy, that’s his decision, his money, his life. Where I think the issue for us is they tried to not have the Canadian public not know that. I’m looking at it and going, ‘okay, ninety thousand dollars of taxpayer money we didn’t want to put there.’ That says to me a lot because I don’t want taxpayers’ dollars spent wrongly. We have an issue that isn’t in the news, that was in the news for just a brief moment about Mr. Mulcair and his party setting up regional minister’s offices across Canada with taxpayers dollars when they didn’t have the right to put those offices there because they didn’t have ministers or representation there, over two million dollars of spending of taxpayers’ dollars. And then of course with the Adscam there’s still millions of dollars missing.
YTW: Fair enough, they’ve all had their problems, but I’m asking you specifically about the PMO.
CW: The PMO’s office, I don’t know how that will impact the PMO’s office. I think it’s a lesson learned. I think it’s important that anywhere in Ottawa that people understand that they’re serving the public and that they need to be accountable. That’s one thing with this whole issue of accountability, our prime minister when he brought all of these accountability things in, they weren’t just for the other parties, they’re for everybody and they have to apply to us as well. Locally, in this riding, it has not been for me, I have knocked on many doors, done so many trade shows, talked with people during the nomination, and it is not an issue with them voting. As you’ve even heard on the news, it’s a blip, but not near as important as so many other issues like the economy, our safety and other issues.
8. I’ve been asked that and at this point in time I have to say there isn’t something specific. I tend to be a facilitator, it’s what I love to do, so the needs of the constituents as they come in, I realize there’s going to be a multitude of those. As far as specific file that would be mine that I would own, obviously Garry [Breitkreuz, outgoing MP] had one. He didn’t go looking for it, it came to him and it became a realization, he realized it was something he could work on and work consistently on for years and years and years across the country. I’m not sure what that will be, but I guarantee you if I have the opportunity, if there’s something that burns for me, I will definitely carry on with that and it’s important to know that even with the gun situation, it took Garry communicating a long time with the party to make it the issue that it became when they realized how important it was to Canadians and that’s part of what it is as an MP representing this riding to see what those issues are specifically for the constituents.
Fact-checking the candidates
By Devin Wilger
The big question last week surrounded the contention of a StatsCan report that Canada fell into a recession during the first two quarters of the year based on the definition that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell over two consecutive quarters or, in simpler terms, the country had two consecutive quarters of negative growth.
Conservative candidate Cathay Wagantall called it a technical recession claiming it is largely concentrated in the oil industry while the rest of the economy is doing well.
Going by the second quarter of 2015, the big industry to see falling numbers was indeed oil, which saw a decline of 4.5 per cent. But, it was not the only one. Construction saw a decline of 1.3 per cent and manufacturing a decline of one per cent. These were the second consecutive declines for all of those industries. Utilities also saw a decline of 1.9 per cent, but that category increased by 2.6 per cent in the first quarter of the year.
The only goods producing industries that saw an increase were agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, which saw an increase of 0.6 per cent in the same quarter. Goods producing industries as a whole saw a decrease of two per cent.
Service industries did see an increase in the second quarter, of 0.6 per cent. Given that Wagantall said retail is doing well, it’s relevant to note that’s also the amount that retail trade increased in the same quarter. The two categories that saw the most significant increases were management of companies and enterprises and arts, entertainment and recreation, at 3.3 per cent and three per cent respectively.
Wagantall is correct that there are economists who believe the recession is not significant. Namely, Beata Caranci, Chief Economist for TD Bank, who predicts a rebound and modest growth of two per cent for the next two years, and Craig Wright, Chief Economist at the Royal Bank of Canada, who called the first part of the year a “soft patch,” and also predicts a rebound.
However, there are also economists who believe that the economy is in trouble. David Madani of Capital Economics has written that hopes for a meaningful recovery in the second half of the year are “misplaced.” Todd Hirsch with ATB Financial predicts a recession for Alberta and a lot of red ink in their provincial budget.
Somewhere in the middle, the Conference Board of Canada predicts that the country will come out of recession, but has also downgraded its predicted growth for the country, to 1.6 per cent, down from 1.9 in May. Don Drummond, the Stauffer-Dunning Fellow at the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University has said that sustained lower growth is the new norm worldwide, and arguing over percentage points doesn’t matter.
Elaine Hughes made reference to 400,000 fewer jobs in manufacturing in Canada. According to Stats Canada’s Labour Force Survey, August 2015 had 1,705,200 employed in manufacturing jobs. In August 2005, that number was 2,191,100. This means there are roughly 485,000 fewer people employed in manufacturing than there were ten years ago.
She also suggested there are countries that have hit 80-100 per cent renewable energy. Examples include Paraguay, Norway and Iceland, according to the International Energy Agency. The Costa Rica Energy Institute also announced that country has hit 100 per cent renewable sources for electricity earlier in 2015. The common thread among all these countries was that the majority of their power was generated through hydroelectric sources.
Hughes also mentioned the United Nations stepping in with regards to First Nations people. She likely refers to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, which stated “Canada faces a continuing crisis when it comes to the situation of indigenous peoples of the country,” and contained several recommendations. It did have some positive comments about steps taken since 2003.
Brooke Malinoski said that the Liberal party had the largest number of indigenous candidates in the election. This is not accurate. According to a list compiled by the CBC, the number of indigenous candidates by party is as follows: Conservative, 4; Green, 8; Liberal, 18; and NDP 23.
Malinoski also said that over 45 per cent of students in Saskatchewan schools will be aboriginal in 2016. The most recent data comes from the 2010 Saskatchewan Education Indicators Report that shows just over 20 per cent of school age children (K-12) in Saskatchewan self-reported aboriginal ancestry. The problem with that number is how many students do not self-report. Also, since then the aboriginal population has been growing at a rate 3.5 times the rate for the general public for many years, the 2016 numbers could be significantly higher although it is very difficult to determine if it would be as much as 45 per cent.
There is a dated (2001) report by the Task Force and Public Dialogue on the Role of the School that estimated 46 per cent of school age students in Saskatchewan would be aboriginal by 2016.